Interleukin-11 receptor α is overexpressed in human osteosarcoma, and near-infrared-labeled IL-11Rα imaging agent could detect osteosarcoma in mouse tumor xenografts

Tumour Biol. 2015 Apr;36(4):2369-75. doi: 10.1007/s13277-014-2844-6. Epub 2014 Dec 19.


IL-11Rα is an important cytokine receptor that links oxidative stress and compensatory proliferation. Mounting evidence has demonstrated that IL-11Rα regulates autoimmune demyelination and the invasion and proliferation of cancer cells, making it an important therapeutic target for molecular targeted therapy. Moreover, overexpression of IL-11Rα indicates a poor long-term prognosis in cancer patients. However, the expression status and its potential as a biomarker for diagnosis, tumor imaging, and prognosis in osteosarcoma remain to be determined. We report here that IL-11Rα is highly expressed in osteosarcoma and near-infrared (NIR)-labeled IL-11Rα imaging agent could detect osteosarcoma in mouse tumor xenografts. In a panel of human osteosarcoma specimens, IL-11Rα protein was positively stained in most cases by immunohistochemistry. Western blot analysis and flow cytometry showed that IL-11Rα was overexpressed in osteosarcoma SOSP-9607 cells. Cell-binding assay demonstrated specific binding of the IL-11Rα targeted imaging agent to osteosarcoma SOSP-9607 cells in vitro. In addition, administration of an IL-11Rα targeted imaging agent in a nude mice orthotopic model resulted in selective accumulation of NIR fluorescent signals in the bone tumor as well as several metabolic organs. These results indicate that IL-11Rα is a potential target for the development of molecular targeted therapy and noninvasive tumor imaging in human osteosarcoma. Furthermore, NIR-labeled IL-11Rα imaging agent is a promising lead for the development of a tumor in vivo imaging method at the molecular level in the management of human osteosarcoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Bone Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Tracking
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-11 Receptor alpha Subunit / biosynthesis*
  • Interleukin-11 Receptor alpha Subunit / genetics
  • Mice
  • Molecular Imaging*
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Osteosarcoma / genetics*
  • Osteosarcoma / pathology
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • IL11RA protein, human
  • Interleukin-11 Receptor alpha Subunit